Deterioration of the nation's concrete bridges and transportation infrastructure has reached alarming levels. Bridge engineers and federal transportation officials have been using and experimenting with new reinforcing materials that provide corrosion protection not provided by traditional black steel rebar. We asked Gerardo G. Clemena, principal research scientist for the Virginia Transportation Research Council, and Doug Gremel, director of nonmetallic reinforcing with Hughes Brothers, to discuss the economic and structural pros and cons of FRP reinforcing, stainless steel, stainless-clad steel, and a new corrosion-resistant steel.

They address these questions:

  • What service life should we expect of our concrete transportation infrastructure?
  • How economically viable are the new generation reinforcing materials?
  • In your opinion, what new reinforcing materials are superior?
  • What are the pros and cons of the new rebar materials?
  • Does the lack of industry standards for new reinforcing materials preclude their use in concrete design?
  • What is the biggest challenge for the future of these nontraditional materials?